Authentic Love Does Not Ignore the Issues
AUTHENTIC LOVE DOES NOT IGNORE THE ISSUES
The people-pleaser in me finds it easy to ignore conflict and call it love, to simply end the ordeal with an east, “I forgive you.” However if I want real resolution and lasting peace, I must be willing to dig into difficult issues. Only then can honest resolution restore the relationship. Only then can I see my adversary in the grocery store and not dodge down another aisle.
“Many people ignore the harm done to them and call it ‘forgiving’ the other. In fact, one reason it may be ignored is the fear of causing conflict. When fear of the other is the undergirding motive for turning the other cheek, it cannot be called love, or forgiving the other. A lot of activity that is seen as spiritual is infused with fear, pretense, and ritual. The take-care-of-yourself movement accurately sees the potential for what appears to be loving behavior to be based on a heart that is not concerned with love, but with protecting the self or others from difficult truths.”
Love discerns between petty issues that should be overlooked and substantive issues that must be resolved for genuine peace to reign. If you decide an issues needs addressing, repent from hear and move into dangerous territory if you want genuine resolution and not some façade. “God’s peace does not peacefully coexist with falsehood, sham, or injustice; so God’s peacemakers cannot simply ignore peace-destroying sin and error, any more than a surgeon can simply close up an infected wound: an abscess is bound to develop.”
AUTHENTIC LOVE DOES NOT BULLY
Bulldozers can mistakenly use confrontation to unload on an adversary with unfiltered words that leave the other party assaulted and bullet-ridden. Honesty cannot excuse cruelty. American politics has become a bully pen, with different parties hiring hatchet men to demolish the character of opponents using any means necessary. Political views aside, if you keep up with politics, you often witness a cruel ethos where half-truths, innuendoes, and cheap shots are the norm. I have witnessed, and experienced this treatment myself, in the church. Christians have blasted me and others with false accusations and character assassination. Jesus must cringe. Whatever our issues, whether we are right or wrong, there is no excuse for believers to treat one another this way.
Excerpt from Sue Edwards and Kelley Mathews, Leading Women Who Wound: Strategies for an Effective Ministry (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999), 99-100.
Allender and Longman, Bold Love, 17.
Dennis Johnson, “Peacemakers,” appendix in Frame’s Evangelical Reunion, 171.